19 August 2014

Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder

 My sister Julia manipulated my life into a prison to keep me silent about our dirty family secret. Her greed made me a slave and circumstance left me with no way to escape.

Trapped, the only way I could silence the nightmares driving me to insanity was to wrap them in color, hold them with shadow, and stitch them to negative space with line.

But no matter how bright the pigments, no one could see my confession.

Except for Roy Callahan.

I thought he was just another nameless one-night stand in a long line of many.
But I was wrong. Roy could see past the façade of my life and through the veil color over the canvas. He could see what the world couldn’t.

And with him I’d find the courage to tell the truth about the boy.

The boy who kissed me.
The boy who loved me.
The boy whose name I couldn’t remember.

Wow! I don’t even know where to start. After reading the My Brother’s Keeper series, I knew Ms. Wilder was a talented author but Complementary Colors far exceeded my expectations. I don’t recall the last time I loved and hurt so much for a character, but thinking about Paris makes me want to cry – tears of sadness, of pain, of happiness, of frustration, of betrayal, of innocence lost, and of love. As if that were not enough, Ms. Wilder had to create Roy, the perfect complement for Paris and a man who I loved just as much as Paris.

Paris is an artist and he defines the cliché of troubled artist. But we learn rather quickly that he has help in that achievement in the form of his sister Julia. It is rare for me to feel the level of hatred for a character that I held for Julia, but that is a sign of how well-crafted her character is. The two siblings are anchoring points on opposite ends of the spectrum of love and hate, with their sister Alice falling somewhere in the middle as I tried to understand how she could show Paris the compassion she showed him while allowing Julia to do to him what she did. But it is Roy’s entrance into Paris life that really makes him come alive. That said, I’m not sure that Roy makes Paris come alive as much as he gives Paris a reason to live – that human connection. There is no doubt that the sex between Paris and Roy is hot, but it is more than that because Roy gives Paris something he has never had before … love. The development of their relationship amidst the chaos that marked Paris’s life was beautiful to read.

If you are a squeamish reader, you probably won’t enjoy this book as it deals with some rather harsh subjects, including mental illness, the physical and emotional abuse of Paris as a child and as an adult, sexual exploitation, and murder. But, if you have the fortitude to read books that contain these elements, then I strongly recommend Complementary Colors because ultimately it is the story of Paris and his fight to find himself. It is a story of survival. And it is a love story. I will be adding all of Ms. Wilder’s books to my reading list as four books have clearly demonstrated her talent and I look forward to reading more of the worlds and characters she creates.
Georgia bred and born, Adrienne Wilder spent most of her childhood exploring fantastical worlds hidden in her own back yard among tall grass, and shadowed kudzu tunnels. When she was not dragon hunting, she spent most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes.
Currently Adrienne lives in Dahlonega, GA where she shares her home with a variety of dogs and one cat. She still spends most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes. Although now she calls the reading "research," the drawing "artwork", the writing "books," and the holes "ponds" and "gardens".


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